(not the teenage kind)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Happy New Year

One of the most unexpected phone calls after my dad's death was from the Rabbi at my childhood temple. He told me that my dad was one of the first people he met when he came to work at the temple and that my dad was "quite vocal." I told him that I had many great memories of growing up at his temple and that I would be there for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services this year. He asked for permission to put my dad's name on the list of people they read during the mourner's prayer and, after I said yes, told me he already had anyway.

Before the call, don dokken and I had already made the decision to go there for services. I am not sure why except that my mother still goes there, there are still people from my childhood who go there, and the services are held at a hotel within walking distances of where don dokken is now living, his aunt's house.

A year ago I left work early so I could have dinner with my dad before the holiday began. We had a great dinner. And it was very surreal one year later to walk up the stairs of don dokken's aunt's house to pick him up to go to services at a place that I had gone to every single year of all my growing up years but had not gone to for a really long time.

The services and the choice to go back to where I grew up were all very comforting. And it felt like the first pages of the prayerbook were written for us:
As the new year begins, our spirits rise in grateful song.

But there were dreams that came to naught..and times when we refused to dream. These, with much regret, we now remember, as the new year begins.

As the new year begins, contrition fills our thoughts.

Some of our days were dark with grief. Many a tear furrowed our cheeks: alas for the tender ties that were broken! We look back with sorrow, as the new year beings.

As the new year begins, tears well up within us.

Yet we look ahead with hope, giving thanks for the daily miracle of renewal, for the promise of good to come. May this Rosh Hashanah, birthday of the world, be our day of rebirth into life and peace, serenity and safety, as the new year begins.

As the new year begins, so is hope reborn within us!
(I stole the prayerbook until Yom Kippur so I could copy those words and have them forever.)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sprinkler Head

A couple of weeks ago my gardener told me that a sprinkler head on my front lawn was broken. He said he would fix it in a few days. The next week he told me that he did not have a replacement for the sprinkler head but did I maybe have one in my garage? I suggested he just steal one from my neighbor, Jeff, who probably does have replacement sprinkler heads in his garage or, if not, knows how to get or install one himself. Apparently the gardener thought I was joking because this morning I went for a walk and a guy who lives at the other end of my block stopped me to ask if I knew that I had a broken sprinkler. head. There are no secrets in this neighborhood.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Evidence That The Real Estate Market Is Slowing Down

I got home last Sunday and the people across the street were standing in my driveway. Their house has been on the market for three weeks and they were having their second open house. They thought the open house was over and had come back but there was one last family still inside so they decided to unobtrusively just hang out in my driveway. I understand because my driveway is loads more fun than, say, going to the local Starbucks.

They were asking $759,000 for their house and nothing was happening even though a not as nice house just three doors down had sold for just about that much about a month ago. They announced to me that they were about to announce to their real estate agent that they wanted to drop the price to $695,000. Pretty dramatic, huh?

I told them that a friend of my sister's was very interested in the neighborhood but their price had been a little too high for her. The wife especially got extremely hyper over this information and they both insisted that I come over with them and meet their real estate agent, hear them tell him about the price reduction, and then give them the news about my sister's friend. And of course I went because why would I want to miss out on the opportunity to watch the reaction of a total stranger when told that his commission is about to drop by at least $2,000?

My neighbor is a marketing executive for a record company and the dramatic price lowering was his idea of a brilliant marketing strategy. I believe it might have worked. Early this morning their real estate agent pulled up in his bright black Mercedes. Later I saw my neighbor who said that they have one offer in hand and five offers pending. The bright black Mercedes has been back at least three times since then.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My New Weight Loss Program

Last night I went to Gelsons Market to buy dinner for me and don dokken. I bought sushi for don dokken and a scoop of tuna with herbs and crackers for me. As I was walking out, a homeless man said to me "Hello, young lady." I have never seen a homeless person at my Gelsons before. "Do you have any food for me?" he asked. My brain had already assumed he was going to be asking for money and so I started to shake my head no and then my brain caught up with his words and I reached into my bag and gave him my tuna.

When I got home I told don dokken that I had given my dinner away to a homeless man. I then burst into tears and told him that homeless people remind me of my father (not that he was one - he just did a lot of stuff for them.) Well, anyway, I didn't have dinner last night.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Speech For Dad

If you live on the Westside, you might have seen a man on oxygen driving a scooter down Pico Boulevard. He would have been dressed in a Tommy Bahama Hawaiian shirt with brightly colored Crocs on his feet. He might have been driving the scooter a bit erratically or, even, some might say, recklessly. Well, that was our dad. Unable to walk due to, as he liked to point out “five different chronic conditions”, he was not going to stop doing the things he loved which meant getting outside, eating, talking to people and shopping (and returning). Besides, he told Eric, “the scooter was a chick magnet.”

He was such a ubiquitous presence on Pico Boulevard that, in fact, my sister having just left the vet very upset after putting her cat to sleep, looked down the street and there was Dad tooling around on his scooter. He was always easy to find. Many times, on my way to Fairfax High School I would see his bright blue Dodge Dart parked in front of the Dupars at Farmer’s Market and I would stop in and have breakfast with him.

And speaking of that bright blue Dodge Dart, he could not remember why, but one day he decided to paint our walkway on Del Valle Drive, which was a lovely red, to match the color of the car. I can still recall the delight of having people drive by the house and yell comments about the ugliness of our walkway.

But that was our dad. The brighter the better. The bigger the better. What was the point in buying two shirts, when you could buy five? What was the point of buying a small coffee when jumbo size exists? What was the point in resting when there were so many people to see and so many things to do?

He was very ill and yet he never gave up and he never complained. With every new challenge, he made adjustments. He was someone who lived his entire life to the fullest regardless of the obstacles.

Last week, he asked Karen if he had been a good father. Of course he was. He was encouraging and supportive to both of us. When we were children, he creatively looked for fun new places to try every weekend and, if that didn’t work, there was always bowling or folk dancing. He was the first feminist in our family. He bought our mother a premier subscription to “Ms” magazine and made sure we understood that there was no barrier to what we as women could do. Today we have asked our cousin, Claire Beezy, to be one of our pallbearers. We know he would have liked that because it bucks tradition and because he taught us that women can be as strong or stronger than men.

He loved Las Vegas and traveling in general. He loved his group of friends who called themselves “The Firm.” He loved “The Godfather” movies. He loved Israel. He loved music. Klezmer bands do not typically perform at funerals but he requested the unorthodox and we have honored his request. He loved his cat, Cindi, the one and only pet in his life, a Father’s Day gift from Karen and me many years ago. He loved Dr. Iancu, his pulmonologist at Kaiser. He loved Candy, his Assistant and Life Manager, who made his last few months immeasurably better and gave our family incredible peace of mind. He loved our mother, who was a good friend to him until the end. He loved his family. He loved teasing his sister, Annette. And he loved all of you; well, most of you.

He knew he was dying and he had a long time to prepare. He had no regrets – he said his cup runneth over.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Somewhat Of An Update

Yeah, I know, I have been gone for a long time. It has been a little hectic but just to fill you in on some of the highlights:

- When I last posted, I was in Des Moines. The trip to Des Moines ended quite bizarrely with 98 year old Aunt Mary accusing me of closing the door to her room, opening her drawer and stealing....some key chains? The kind of key chains they give out free from Bud's Hardware Store and Raymond's Cadillac Dealership. Because you all know that I am just the kind of person to travel across country (via my favorite mode of transportation, the airplane) spending five hundred plus dollars in order to steal maybe ten cents worth of key chains. What can I say? Old people get weirdly paranoid.

- Upon returning from Des Moines, don dokken and I went to see his mother in San Diego. We met his mother's caregiver, the very competent Sharon. I know she is competent because I overheard her saying very seriously to don dokken, "We are working on the banana issue." You know. The banana issue. Whereby it is hard to balance the ripeness of the banana with the eating habits of don dokken's mother. "We have switched her to organic," Sharon said, in the same tone that someone might use when speaking about trying out a new medication because the old one just wasn't working. I think they eventually agreed that she would buy four (organic) bananas at a time - two ripe, two green. Banana issue solved.

- don dokken's aunt passed away and I can say that watching every episode of every season of "Six Feet Under" is no preparation for the moment when the mortuary arrives. For one thing, one of the mortuary people was a girl.

- Things continued to break in the month of August as predicted by Crazy Aunt Purl. On September 3rd, I was driving home from the car wash and I thought, "August is over. Things aren't going to break anymore!" I got home and was sitting at my desk and there was a big crash. The glass light over my head had fallen on the floor and crashed into big and little pieces of glass all around me. The dog had been in the room too but I think he sensed it coming and got out of its path. He and I could have been blinded. Well, anyway, there is now no light fixture over the bulb in my office.

- Shaken up from the broken light fixture incident, I drove to Long Beach where Joan, one of the Union Station J's, was giving a talk for the Art Deco Society aboard the Queen Mary. Cameron and I were standing in the long line waiting to purchase our tickets when a little girl came running up to us. "We have a coupon for a complimentary ticket that we're not going to use," she said and handed the coupon to me. So Cameron and I got in for the price of one. "Out of all the people in line she picked us," I said to him. Cameron is an Aquarius so he was under the breaking curse as well. We took this as a sign that August was really, really over and our luck is now going to change.

- I have a new client. I actually have several new clients. But I am back in my recruiting mode (if anyone knows someone looking for a bookkeeper job in West Hollywood, please let me know.) I know I have said this before but if I were a full time recruiter I would have a book full of crazy examples of responses to job ads. Here are two:

"I have included a functional resume that details my experience with HIV/AIDS as well as Customer Service and Administrative positions."

"Please read the skills very carefully,and get back to me ASAP,
All Salary histories, and requirements should come by interview or phone call. All references by request only.
Also be sure to read the cover letter that comes with resumes.

May the Lord be with you always ,"

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